November 13, 2017

SVSU selects K-12 educators for Gerstacker leadership program

A new group of K-12 education leaders committed to professional growth will join the Saginaw Valley State University Gerstacker Fellowship program in 2018.

As part of the initiative, 12 teachers, principals, and program administrators from across Michigan will receive concentrated leadership training over a 1-year period. The experience concludes with a capstone international trip to China in June.

Previous overseas trips have included Finland, China, South Korea and Taiwan. Last year's group traveled to Japan.

These trips send participants to educational institutions, where they learn about international educational systems and corporate settings, and they discover how leadership plays out in different cultural and economic settings. Last year's group visited Tokushima, Nara, Kyoto, and Dow Japan & Korea Headquarters in Tokyo.

The program was established in 2005 with a $1.5 million endowment from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation of Midland as part of SVSU’s community-minded commitment to support K-12 educators. Participants are known as Gerstacker Fellows. They meet monthly on weekends.

SVSU faculty from various disciplines instruct the group on subjects such as organizational leadership, ethics, finances, communication, human resources, entrepreneurship and education with a global perspective.

The Michigan educators selected to participate in the program in 2018 are:

  • Lisa M. Butts, career and technical education administrator and work-based learning coordinator for Oxford Community Schools
  • Kimberly Cairy, a visual arts and design educator in Saginaw Township Community Schools
  • Christopher Collins, an elementary school principal for Port Huron Schools
  • Nancy Mahoney, an administrator of curriculum instruction and professional learning for  Clarkston Community Schools
  • Scott Sawyer, director of human resources for the Saginaw Intermediate School District
  • Kurtis Pake, an elementary school principal for Bangor Township Schools
  • Jennifer Servoss, the IB Primary Years Programme and STEM Coordinator for Midland Public Schools
  • Jennifer Todd, an elementary teacher in the Swan Valley School District
  • Jill Verburg, a middle school mathematics teacher in the North Branch School District
  • Laura Walsh, assistant director of special education for Rochester Community Schools
  • Jill Wrzesinski, an assistant high school principal and director of college prep for Bay City Public Schools
  • Zak Zuzula, a middle school teacher for Carrollton Public Schools

The Fellows were nominated by their schools and selected on the basis of their past academic and service accomplishments, and the recommendations of others as to their potential for true excellence in leadership.